Urim and Thummim

Urim and Thummim. Described by Joseph Smith as “two stones in silver bows…fastened to a breastplate” (Joseph Smith-History 1:35).He said, “With the records was found a curious instrument, which the ancients called ‘Urim and Thummim,’ which consisted of two transparent stones set in the rim of a bow fastened to a breast plate. Through the medium of the Urim and Thummim I translated the record by the gift and power of God” (Joseph Smith, History of the Church 4:537). One church manual reports, “Moroni gave Joseph the Urim and Thummim. The Urim and Thummim were very old stones, which one could see through, like large spectacles or eye glasses” (The History of the Church for Children, Course of Study for the First Intermediate Department for the Sunday Schools of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1951, p. 7).

Tenth President Joseph Fielding Smith explained how the Urim and Thummim were never used after 1830 because they were returned with the Book of Mormon’s gold plates: “We have been taught since the days of the Prophet that the Urim and Thummim were returned with the plates to the angel. We have no record of the Prophet having the Urim and Thummim after the organization of the Church. Statements of translations by the Urim and Thummim after that date are evidently errors. The statement has been made that the Urim and Thummim was on the altar in the Manti Temple when that building was dedicated. The Urim and Thummim so spoken of, however, was the seer stone which was in the possession of the Prophet Joseph Smith in early days.” (Doctrines of Salvation 3:225). For more on this, see here.

Return to dictionary here.